Correction: An earlier version of this post had the incorrect date for the Roe v. Wade decision. It also misrepresented the role of the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network: It promotes the Silent No More Awareness campaign, but it does not run the organization.
The historic Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion will be 39 years old on Jan. 22. As the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade approaches, antiabortion activists are keen to get their message out.
A newly redesigned web site called “Silent No More Awareness” encourages women not to get abortions because they will come to regret it. The site features testimonials from women who have such regret, women who have been raped, fathers who regret an aborted fetus and couples who engage in “pro-life commitment.”
A similar message is aimed for television, in a more graphic manner, by antiabortion activist Randall Terry. Terry launched a non-serious campaign for president late last year so that he would be able to run gruesome ads of dead fetuses in key primary states. Slate explains that Terry is using a FCC loophole that requires stations to run even grisly campaign ads. The ads will next be seen in some cities during the Super Bowl, according to Mother Jones.
The ads are reportedly in response to the actions of “The Abortion Gang,” an abortion-rights advocacy group that asked supporters to donate to such groups every time Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow scored a touchdown.
While Terry says in a fundraising letter that the Abortion Gang was targeting Christians, a member of the group pointed out that they were Christians, too. The writer listed a number of Christian organizations who support abortion rights, including Catholics for Choice, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and The United Methodist Church.
But among Christians, antiabortion campaigners today remain more prevalent, and more vocal. The Silent No More Awareness campaign is also run by Christian groups, the Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life. It is also promoted by the clergy group called the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network.
The Silent No More Awareness campaign has shared their testimonies in person in front of the Supreme Court on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade every year since 2003. Leslie Palma-Simoncek, the director of communications for Priests for Life, said 65 people were at the event last year and she expected similar numbers this year.
The president of the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network, Colin Hanna, said in a statement antiabortion activists are going after Web sites (and TV spots) because “these untold stories are not in the headlines of our nation’s coverage.”
“No abortion clinic pamphlet, billboard or Yellow Pages ad can tell a woman about the emptiness and regret she will undoubtedly feel after aborting a child,” he said.
Update: Georgette Forney, one of the co-founders of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, spoke to us further about this posting, saying she felt it confused her organization’s efforts when compared to Randall Terry’s. She said she did not agree with the use of graphic images. “Why? The women [who regret their abortions]. We see those graphic images, it makes it harder for us to face what we did.”
Forney had an abortion in 1976, but did not started speaking out about it until1998.
“We trying to help destigmatize abortion and try to help women find their voice,” Forney said. “Abortion isn’t like getting your tooth pulled and we need to respect that and listen to the voices of experience. These voices don’t come out and share their voices easily. When we tell our stories, it helps us own it. It allows us a level of honesty with ourselves and the world.”